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Breath duties: A brief look at gas mask fetishism

In a previous blog, I examined mask fetishism that involves individuals who derive sexual pleasure and arousal from either wearing masks and/or seeing others wearing masks. Today’s blog takes a more detailed look at gas mask fetishism. As with mask fetishism more generally, there is little in the way of academic or clinical research on gas mask fetishism, and much of what is known can best be described as anecdotal.

Gas mask fetishism appears to have potential overlap with other types of paraphilic and/or fetishistic behaviour, particularly hypoxyphilia (i.e., deriving sexual pleasure and arousal from oxygen deprivation). For instance, a recent 2011 paper in the Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine led by Dr. Oleg Skugarevsky, examined a couple of deaths due to hypoxyphilia, one of which was wearing a gas mask at the scene of death. They noted that:

[Hypoxyphiliacs] use a variety of techniques to produce the hypoxia like strangulation, suffocation or reduction of the oxygen in the inspired air that may be achieved with plastic bags or gas masks that may allow inhaling some anesthetic gases (chloroform, nitrous oxide) and volatile chemicals (isopropyl nitrite and isobutyl nitrite (“poppers”)”.

A recent (and interesting) 2011 multi-authored paper led by Joe Marshall (Nottingham University, UK) examined the entertainment value of gas masks in a paper entitled: “The gas mask: A probe for exploring fearsome interactions”. They argued that a range of popular entertainment clearly demonstrates that there is “widespread and growing public appetite for extreme, visceral, and horrifying experiences”. Their idea of a gas mask interface emerged out of a long-term project “to develop interactive entertainments using biological sensing, which led to the idea of exploring the aesthetics of respiration monitoring as a form of engaging spectacle and gaming interaction”. Reflecting on their experiences with gas masks as part of the entertainment experience, they identified six key dimensions in designing fearsome interactions, some of which I think are applicable to the use of gas masks in sexual play and gas mask fetishism.

  • The cultural dimension: Many scholars have argued that emotions and culture are intertwined, therefore, when it comes to the use of gas masks in a leisure context, it has to take into account the cultural context. Marshall and colleagues argue that gas masks clearly have a very striking and unusual aesthetic with strong cultural associations. Clearly, gas masks are likely to evoke images of warfare, law enforcement, riot control police, etc. For those using gas masks as part of bondage and BDSM play, these associations of power and strength may be an important part of sexual roleplay. Marshall and colleagues themselves also note that:“[Gas masks] are also associated with sexual behaviour as part of sexual practices surrounding breathplay and erotic asphyxiation. Moreover, bondage wear is now increasingly fashionable – for example London’s Torture Garden fetish and body modification nightclub has moved over the last 20 years from being a semi-legal club, regularly shut down by the police, to become a well established entertainment and fetish clothing brand. Interestingly, other researchers have noted [human-computer interaction’s] ‘tendency to desexualise technology and have sought to raise an agenda for researching ‘sexual interactions. It is therefore important to recognise that gas masks may suggest various fearsome and/or sexual associations and possibly heighten both kinds of arousal”
  • The visceral dimension: Marshall and colleagues note there is “a striking physicality to donning a gas mask which may amplify the fearsome nature of horror experiences in several more direct ways”. This again is likely to enhance the experience for sadomasochists who utilize gas mask equipment. As they also note, for many this results in “an unusual and somewhat uncomfortable physical sensation, while others may experience something closer to claustrophobia”. As I noted in a previous blog on claustrophilia (i.e., deriving sexual pleasure and arousal from being confined in small places), gas masks for this type of paraphiliac might be a sensual turn on.
  • The control dimension: Marshall and colleagues note that an important aspect of fearsome experiences is the “committing to a scary and unknown experience and not being able to back out, either physically or socially”. This again, is critical in some BDSM scenarios and is critical in ‘breath play’ aspects of sadomasochistic activity. Additionally, it allows one dominant participant to control, through their breathing, the physical experience of a submissive other and “playing on the fear and thrill of being controlled by, and controlling, others”.
  • The social dimension: Marshall and colleagues note that by enclosing a person’s face in a gas mask creates a situation whereby the mask wearer is made anonymous. This leads to effects that may be especially important in BDSM situations. Firstly, the wearer feels isolated and/or dehumanized. Secondly, those viewing the person wearing the gas mask may see the person as anonymous and (potentially) non-human.
  • The performance dimension: Marshall and colleagues argue that the performance dimension has the potential to amplify the scary and fearsome nature of interactions while wearing a gas mask. This form of viewing via gas mask has the potential keeping social interactions somewhat ambiguous, allowing the participant to interpret the situation themselves. This again may be an important part of fantasy-based BDSM play, and the anticipation of what may happen may be more sexually exciting for the mask wearer than what happens in actuality.
  • The engineering dimension: Finally, Marshall and colleagues acknowledge the significant engineering challenges involved in creating wearable sensors that are sufficiently robust to operate within leisure contexts (although personally I don’t think there are many implications for sexual use from an engineering perspective).

Marshall and his colleagues concluded that many popular entertainments involve people voluntarily undergoing fearsome experiences (and my own take on this is that it can involve sexual behaviour and experiences). Ultimately, they argued that the creation of scary experiences has to take account of the multi-faceted nature of fear, that involves cultural, visceral, social, and control factors outlined above.

I’ve yet to come across any focused research on gas mask fetishes and/or sexuality. There are a few first person articles examining the issue although not from the user perspective. I’ll leave you with perhaps the most interesting by artist Callidus who examined gas mask fetishism from an aesthetic perspective after coming across (by accident) some gas mask imagery:

“I’m not sure why gas mask imagery has never really appealed to me; any more than I understand why its such a turn-on for others…When I came across this particular series of images, what really grabbed my interest was the contrast…Contrast is the foundation of all design. Whether its contrast between form, color, or aesthetic, the difference between A and B is where interesting things happen. In this case, I found the contrast between the beautiful lines of the female form and the harsh, industrial design of a gas mask to be very striking…I find bondage to be especially potent here. The image of a woman encased in this foreboding mask, unable to shut out the sights or sounds engulfing her senses while her limbs are restrained from affecting any sort of aid. It works for me”

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Bebbington, P.E. (1977). Treatment of male sexual deviation by use of a vibrator: Case report. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 6, 21-24.

Callidus (2011). I don’t have a gas mask fetish…and yet. August 3. Located at: http://callidus-mc.com/animated-manips/i-dont-have-a-gas-mask-fetish-and-yet

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Marshall, J., Walker, B., Benford, S., Tomlinson, G, Egglestone, S.R., Reeves, S. Brundell, P., Tennent, P., Cranwell, J., Harter, P. & Longhurst, J. (2011). The gas mask: A probe for exploring fearsome interactions. Proceedings of the 2011 Annual Conference Extended Abstracts on Human Factors in Computing Systems (pp.127-136). New York, NY.

Nation Master (2012). Mask fetishism. Located at: http://www.statemaster.com/encyclopedia/Mask-fetishism

Skugarevsky, O., Ehrlich, E., & Sheleg, S. (2011). Accidental strangulation resulted from hypoxyphilia associated with multiple paraphilias and substance abuse: a psychological autopsy case report. Romanian Journal of Legal Medicine, 19, 249-252.

Nettle down: A brief look at sexual urtication

“I find applying stinging nettles to my body highly pleasurable. I’ve tried the web for more information but either get herbalist pages or, when searching the words ‘nettles’ and ‘fetish’ together, get directed to [sado-masochsistic]-type pages. I don’t really go for that. Can you direct me somewhere where I can get advice? Are there any long-term dangers in exposing my ‘delicate areas’ to the little green temptresses?” (Seriously Twisted Into Nettle Games, letter in The Stranger)

In a previous blog I examined the sexual use of bee stings as a method used by men to increase the size of their penis. It was while researching that blog that I came across another sting-related sexual practice called urtication. According to the Wikipedia entry on stinging nettles, urtication, refers to the “flogging with nettles [and] is the process of deliberately applying stinging nettles to the skin in order to provoke inflammation”. In a sexual context, Dr. Anil Aggrawal (in his book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices) defines urtication as the use of stinging nettles to create extra sexual sensation.

Although there are numerous scientific papers on urtication (particularly in relation to the physiology of nettle stings, the treatment of nettle stings, and medical uses such as the use of stinging nettles to treat joint and back pain), I was unable to locate a single paper on the sexual use of stinging nettles. Dr. Brenda Love (in her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices) included a whole section on sexual urtication. She notes that:

“Urtication refers to those who use stinging nettles to stimulate the skin for sex games. The active ingredients in the stinging nettle do not spread to other areas but are restricted to the site at which the plant comes into contact. Nettles have tiny hair-like projections rather than thorns which can break and stick to the skin. The skin becomes sensitized without the injury that certain types of flagellation can produce. Skin exposed to nettles will redden and in a short time produce small bumps. The person will feel a sharp hot sting that fades to a warm tingling glow which may last several hours. Nettles may be applied in various ways. Some lie the stems down and press the hairs into the skin, others hold them in a cluster and tap it against the chosen area, or put them into a bottom’s underwear. Men who wear condoms have found that briefly applying nettles to the penis before putting on the condom can compensate for the sensation lost by the latex barrier”.

Obviously the claim about condom use is anecdotal and there is no empirical evidence that supports the claim made (although I have no reason to doubt it). However, I did come across a semi-corroborative source in a short online article on ‘unusual sex practices’ that included a paragraph on urtication. It noted that:

“The sexual practice which is technically called urtication is concerned with the desire for stinging plants, for example nettles that we use to ‘torture’ the partner’s body. It all depends on our courage, which means that some people who like doing this go very far and ‘burn’ their genitals as well. A confession of a man who admitted he put a nettle leaf on the inside of his condom in also very interesting. Supposedly, this really arouses him during intercourse and provides him with additional pleasure. The same goes for a woman who said that she adores it when her partner stimulates her vagina with nettle during foreplay. It has a similar effect to hot wax and whipping. The skin is naturally much more irritated after contact with the nettle”.

Writing for The Stranger, the US journalist Dan Savage addressed stinging nettle fetishes in one of his columns. His own research (which from what I can gather involved reading Rodale’s Encyclopedia of Herbs) led him to write that the Romans thrashed men “below the navel” to improve their virility. He also interviewed Tracy Mehlin (Center for Urban Horticulture at the University of Washington, US). She was quoted as saying she once knew a farmhand “who occasionally lashed himself with stinging nettles” but never asked him why he did it. She also reported that:

“The leaves and stems of stinging nettles are covered with tiny hollow hairs. When a person comes in contact with the plant, the tips of the hairs break off, stick in the person’s skin, and then, like a lot of little hypodermic needles, pump in a venom that makes the skin itch, swell, tingle, and burn for hours. There are some people who enjoy the effect”.

An online article on ‘Organic S&M’ noted the many different uses of stinging nettles throughout history. The only ones of a sexual nature was their use by English herbwives to ‘encourage’ prize bulls during the mating season, and by English mistresses for much the same purpose. And they were as common in Victorian era erotica as figging, birches, and caning”.

An online article at the London Fetish Scene website discusses the sexual use of stinging nettles. The article notes that stinging nettle effects differ in intensity from variety to variety (and even the soil they are growing in). There is also great individual variation (in that the same stinging nettle used on one person may exact different effects in another). The article also claims that the same person can feel different effects based on other factors such as whether a women is menstruating.

In addition to using stinging nettles for flogging, the article also lists four other sexual uses. These include (i) using stinging nettles as an alternative to ginger for ‘figging’ (i.e., the act of inserting something into the body that will cause a stinging, burning sensation for sexual pleasure), (ii) putting stinging nettles into the victim’s underwear, (iii) applying stinging nettles to the penis just before putting on a condom (as noted above by Dr. Brenda Love), and (iv) forcing a submissive to consume stinging nettles (although the article then adds that the safety of this is very uncertain given that raw nettles are poisonous). Finally, if you’re really interested in learning more about the use of stinging nettles in BDSM practices (from a practical rather than academic point of view), then check out the FAQ page of the Sado-Botany website.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Alford, L. (2007). Urtication for Musculoskeletal Pain? Pain Medicine, 9, 963-965.

Christopher (2000). Organic S&M, December 16. Located at: http://web.archive.org/web/20031211012237/http://www.utahpowerexchange.org/articles/organicSM.html

Kowalchik, C. & Hylton, W.H. (1999). Rodale’s Illustrated Encyclopedia of Herbs. Emmaus, PA: Rodale Press.

London Fetish Scene (2009). Nettle. February 5. Located at: http://www.londonfetishscene.com/wipi/index.php/Nettle

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Randall, C., Meethan, K., Randall, H. & Dobbs, F. (1999). Nettle sting of Urtica dioica for joint pain – an exploratory study of this complementary therapy. Complimentary Therapies in Medicine, 7, 126-131.

Savage, D. (2003). Gas huffer. The Stranger, June 12. Located at: http://www.thestranger.com/seattle/SavageLove?oid=14566

Urtication.com (2012). Urtication: Sex & Nettles. Located at: http://www.urtication.com/

Wikipedia (2012). Stinging nettle. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stinging_nettle

Zee News (2012). Unusual sexual practices: Urtication. Located at: http://zeenews.india.com/entertainment/print.aspx?aid=117201

Contractual arrangements: A brief look at ‘bug chasing’

Despite being fairly well read on sexually extreme behaviour, it wasn’t until relatively recently (in the last 12 months) that I came across the terms ‘bug chasing’ and ‘pozzing’. Both of these slang terms refer to the practice of people (usually gay or bisexual men) deliberately engaging in unprotected (‘bareback’) sex with men who are known to be HIV-positive in an attempt to contract the HIV virus (“bug”) themselves (hence the name ‘pozzing’ deriving from the word ‘positive’). This has led to knowing recipients of bug chasers being called ‘gift givers’ (i.e., those that allow sexual partners to contract the HIV virus). Despite some people believing the practice to be a complete myth, empirical research does indeed conform the existence of the practice.

However, there is a clear distinction concerning intent between those who don’t want to engage in protective sex because they prefer penetrative sex and/or prefer sex without condoms (the so-called ‘barebackers’), and those who don’t want to engage in unprotected sex in order to contract a life-threatening sexually transmitted disease (so-called ‘bug chasers’). The consequence of this clear distinction means that all bug chasers are barebackers but not all barebackers are bug chasers.

Research has been carried out suggesting various reasons for why men would want to deliberately contract HIV. In a 2004 paper in the British Journal of Social Psychology, Dr. Michele Crossley reported some men indicate that the practice is highly exciting because it is such a highly risky behaviour (in that they could ultimately die from contracting the virus). However, such a reason suggests that such individuals don’t actually want to contract HIV (and seems psychologically akin to playing Russian roulette). The same paper also noted that some bug chasers appear to be very lonely people who want to contract AIDS so that they will receive the attention, nurturance and care that they feel they need (and therefore share similarities with those who have Munchausen’s Syndrome). Similarly, others see the contracting of HIV as way becoming part of a community that elicits public sympathy and caretaking.

Writing in the Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, a paper by Dr. Mark Blechner in 2002 examined the the psychodynamics of barebacking and safer sex. Dr. Blechner argued that the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in the early 1980s, gay men had personal experience of multiple deaths and were “terrified by a new, mysterious, and untreatable disease”. This was contrasted with today’s gay men who were much less afraid of contracting HIV and considered condom use as more restrictive, less intimate and less pleasurable than older gay men. There also appears to be a small minority of gay men who are so anxious and overwhelmed about the thought of contracting HIV that actually contracting it would help overcome the negative psychological states they experience.

In 2007, Dr. David Moskowitz and his colleagues carried out a study published in the journal Sexual Addiction & Compulsivity. They compared 284 bug chasers and barebackers. Their results showed that bug chasers were considerably different from barebackers regarding sexually paraphilic activities (for instance, bug chasers were far more likely to engage in sexually sadomasochistic activities), and significantly more likely than barebackers to rank higher on behavioural and psychological measures of sexual addiction. The Wikipedia entry on bug chasing also provides further reasons for wanting to contract HIV: 

“The behavior may stem from a ‘resistance to dominant heterosexual norms and mores’ due to a defensive response by gay men to repudiate stigmatization and rejection by society. Some people consider bug chasing ‘intensely erotic’ and the act of being infected as the “ultimate taboo, the most extreme sex act left’. A number of people who are HIV negative and in a relationship with someone who is HIV positive seek infection as a way to remain in the relationship, particularly when the HIV positive partner may wish to break up to avoid infecting the HIV negative partner. Some contend that this behaviour stems from feelings of inevitability towards HIV among the gay community and the empowerment of choosing when to contract the virus”.

In 1999, Dr. DeAnn Gauthier and Dr. Craig Forsyth published a paper on bareback subculture in the journal Deviant Behavior and noted in their interviews with gay men that a few of their participants wanted to contract the HIV virus. In previous blogs, I have written about how the internet has facilitated the meeting of like-minded people (such as people who are cannibals meeting up with people wanting to be eaten). A paper by Dr. Richard Tewksbury (also published in the journal Deviant Behavior) entitled ‘Bareback sex and the quest for HIV: Assessing the relationship in internet personal advertisements of men who have sex with men’. This was arguably the first academic paper to find empirical evidence that bug chasers had moved with the times and were looking for ‘gift givers’ online.

One of the best (and most interesting) papers published on bug chasers and gift givers was published in a few years ago in an issue of the journal AIDS Education and Prevention by Dr. Christian Grov and Dr, Jeffrey Parsons. Their research examined the online profiles of over a thousand bug chasers and gift givers (n=1228) and classified such people into one of six types. These comprised:

  • Committed Bug Chasers (7.5% of the total sample): This type comprised men who were HIV-negative but actively seeking HIV-positive partners.
  • Opportunistic Bug Chasers (12.1%): This type comprised men who were HIV-negative but were not bothered about the HIV status of their prospective partner.
  • Committed Gift Givers (0.4%): This type comprised men who were HIV-positive and sought HIV-negative partners.
  • Opportunistic Gift Givers (26%): This type comprised men who were HIV-positive but were not bothered about the HIV status of their prospective partner.
  • Serosorters: This type comprised men whose description of being a bug chaser or gift giver did not match their intentions and were seeking partners of equal HIV status. For instance, some HIV-positive men (8.5%) sought other HIV-positive men, whereas some HIV-negative men (12.5%) sought other HIV-negative men.
  • Ambiguous Bug Chasers or Gift Givers (16.3%): This type comprised men who did not know their HIV status. Therefore, it was not determined whether these men were bug chasers or gift givers.

Clearly, the evidence shows that bug chasing is far from being a myth and is engaged in by a small minority of the gay and bisexual community. For some, the research seems to echo one of the most wonderful lines from the song Frankly Mr Shankly by one of my favourite groups The Smiths. I’m sure Morrissey didn’t have bug chasing in mind when he sang the lyrics “I want to live and I want to love/I want to catch something that I might be ashamed of” but it does seem applicable.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Blechner, M. (2002). Intimacy, pleasure, risk, and safety. Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy 6(3), 27–33.

Crossley, M.L. (2004). Making sense of ‘barebacking': Gay men’s narratives, unsafe sex and the ‘resistance habitus’. British Journal of Social Psychology, 43, 225-244.

Gauthier, D. K.; Forsyth, C. J. (1999). Bareback sex, bug chasing, and the gift of death”. Deviant Behavior 20, 85-100.

Grov, C. (2004). “Make me your death slave”: Men who have sex with men and use the Internet to intentionally spread HIV. Deviant Behavior, 25, 329–349.

Grov, C. (2006). Barebacking websites: Electronic environments for reducing or inducing HIV risk. AIDS Care, 18, 990–997.

Grov, C. & Parsons, J.T. (2006). Bugchasing and Giftgiving: The potential for HIV transmission among barebackers on the Internet” AIDS Education and Prevention, 18, 490-503.

Hatfield, K. (2004). A Quest for belonging: Exploring the story of the bug chasing phenomenon. Paper presented at the National Communication Association Conference, Chicago, Illinois.

LeBlanc, B. (2007). “An Exploratory Study of ‘Bug Chasers'”. Sociological Imagination 43 (2): 13–20.

Moskowitz, D.A. & Roloff, M.E. (2007). The ultimate high: Sexual addiction and the bug chasing phenomenon. Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity 14, 21-40.

Moskowitz, D.A. & Roloff, M.E. (2007). The existence of a bug chasing subculture. Culture, Health and Sexuality, 9, 347-358.

Tewksbury, R. (2003). Bareback sex and the quest for HIV: Assessing the relationship in internet personal advertisements of men who have sex with men. Deviant Behavior, 25, 467-482.

Tewksbury, R. (2006). “Click here for HIV”: An analysis of internet-based bug chasers and bug givers. Deviant Behavior, 27, 379–395.

Flat mates: A brief look at BBW squashing fetishes

While researching a previous blog on fat fetishes, I came across the practice of ‘gut flopping’. According to the online Urban Dictionary, gut flopping is “where a large bellied individual raises his or her stomach and allows it to drop upon his or her sexual partner in a way that creates a smack sound [and] is an act performed for sexual pleasure”. There is an infamous clip on the internet featuring gut flopping (which you can check out here if you are so inclined), but there is little written about it academically (or non-academically for that matter). However, one variant of this that appears to be very popular among a minority of men is ‘BBW squashing’ (i.e., men being squashed by one or more ‘big beautiful women’ for sexual pleasure) and also known as ‘crushing’ or ‘smashing’ by squashing enthusiasts. One such BBW (‘Massive Mocha’) appeared on Dr. Drew’s US television show in October 2011 talking about her experiences as someone who catered for men’s fetish to be sat on and squashed by very large women. ‘Massive Mocha’ revealed that men ask her to sit on them until they feel they are going to pass out from loss of breath.

According to the Squashing Fetish website, there are many variations of the fetish. Heterosexual squashing comprises very obese women squashing smaller (typically thin) men. Homosexual squashing comprises very obese men squashing much smaller men. For some, fantasizing about being squashed may satisfy the sexual fetish. This may include someone (weighing anything from 200 pounds to 600 pounds) sitting, standing, jumping, and/or crushing their face, belly and/or chest (resulting in the person being squashed squirming). The relationship (concerning control) is psychologically similar to the dominant and submissive in sexual sadism and sexual masochism. Being unable to breathe (or breathe properly) appears to be critical in the fetish and in that sense shares similarities with hypoxyphilia (i.e., autoerotic asphyxiation in which individuals derive sexual arousal and pleasure from the restriction of their oxygen supply).

Last year (May 22, 2012), Channel 4 (in the UK) screened Nick Betts’ documentary My Big Fat Fetish. One of the women interviewed at length in the show was BBW Reenaye Starr. She was interviewed by a British tabloid newspaper prior to the show being aired and was asked whether the physical contact associated with a squashing was seen as the ultimate prize by men who pay to be squashed by her. Starr was reported as saying:

“It depends. There are so many different kinds of ‘fat admirers’. Some men are not interested in squashing at all. Some men are just into big ladies looking cute. And then there are some into hardcore pornography who want to see big ladies having sex. It all depends on what your sub-fetish is – but to these men, being with a big woman in any capacity is their ultimate desire. [My] subscribers come from all over the world. But there is definitely a huge following in the UK…I personally – other than my husband – have two feeders who send me money for food online. They don’t physically feed me as they’re too far away but one is based in the US now so he does come in for squashings”

In an online article on BBW squashing (which looks as though it was written by BBW squashers themselves but I can’t be sure), it noted we may not be able to explain how being squashed can be sexy, but it is an important part of foreplay for those who have this kind of fetish”. The (anonymous) writer confirms my own view that BBW squashing is on the same spectrum as sexual behaviours such as sadomasochism, bondage, and domination “which means that in order to find sexual pleasure, one must feel pain from lack of oxygen, beating, among others”. The article also claims that BBW Squashing “is not as life-threatening as autoerotic asphyxiation since the man can tap the BBW anytime he feels that he’s close to passing out”. It claims that most BBWs engage in squashing for financial reasons and that their primary aim is “to concentrate on the sexual gratification of their clients…Others like Queen Raqui, it’s more like a sport in which she also earns money, without the pressure of having sex with her clients”. The article mainly concerns all the different types of ways that men can be squashed by BBWs.

  • Face-Sitting: This position involves the man lying diagonally across a bed with his head at the corner of the bed. The BBW squasher (BBWS) then sits on the man’s head with the man’s face in the BBWS’s crotch. Some BBWSs may move or shake about to enhance the man’s pleasure.
  • Sixty-Nine (69): This position involves the man lying flat on the bed while the BBWS lies on top of him so that her face is in the man’s crotch and is facing his legs (and vice-versa). Either partner may stimulate each other’s genitals while in the 69 position.
  • Back-Lying: This position involves a man lying on his back with the BBWS sitting on him and crushing his chest and/or face.
  • Leg-Captivity: This position involves the BBWS wrapping the man’s head between her legs with the man facing either her crotch or her buttocks. The BBWS may completely suffocate the man in this position (and has to rely on the man to signal to her to let her know when to let go).
  • Riding Horse Man: This position (as might be expected from the name) involves the BBWS riding the man like a horse while he is on his front. This is said to increase the man’s sexual arousal.
  • Double Trouble: This is not a position as such but involves two BBWSs sitting on a man in any variation of the positions outlined above.

In a previous blog I examined both macrophilia (i.e., sexual pleasure and arousal from giants) and crush fetishes (i.e., sexual pleasure and arousal from crushing or being crushed), and there seems to be some psychological similarity between BBW squashing and these other sexual paraphilias and fetishes. For instance, some macrophiles date extraordinarily tall women (so called ‘Amazons’) even if they have to pay for the privilege to do so. For instance, Mikayla Miles (who when wearing her fetish boots nearly 7 feet in her fetish boots, and 6 feet 4 inches without the boots) provides private sessions with macrophiles to engage in behaviours such as trampling. This has a lot of resonance with BBW squashing. Research has been carried out into both sadomasochistic sexual activity and fat fetishes, but little on where they intersect. This would certainly be a fruitful area for further empirical investigation.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

All Experts (2009). Fetishism/BBW. September 16. Located at: http://en.allexperts.com/q/Fetishism-2835/2009/9/BBW-1.htm

Call Escort Girls (2012). BBW squashing. February 28. Located at: http://callescortgirls.com/bbw-squashing

Leigh, R. (2012). “I work with attractive women who love themselves – what could be more empowering than that?” My Big Fat Fetish’s Reenaye Starr on squashings and whether she feels exploited. Daily Mirror, May 22. Located at: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/world-news/my-big-fat-fetish-bbw-model-844022

Monaghan, L. (2005). Big handsome men, bears, and others: Virtual constructions of ‘fat male embodiment’. Body and Society, 11, 81-111.

Murray, S. (2004). Locating aesthetics: Sexing the fat woman. Social Semiotics, 14, 237-247.

Swami, V. & Tovee, M.J. (2009). Big beautiful women: the body size preferences of male fat admirers. Journal of Sex Research, 46, 89-96.

Terry, L.L. & Vasey, P.L. (2011). Feederism in a woman. Archives of Sexial Behavior, 40, 639-645.

Tickled pink: A brief look at knismolagnia

“My friend’s sister always asked me to tickle her, and I would. Then one day I was tickling her and she climaxed and kissed me. It freaked me out because I wasn’t tickling near her private parts. I thought that maybe it was a one time thing, so I tickled her two more times on different occasions, and she climaxed both times” (posting on the Is It Normal? website)

There are hundreds of sexual paraphilias of which little is known. One of the most obscure paraphilias but which is definitely known to exist is knismolagnia. According to Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his 2009 book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, knismophilia is a sexual paraphilia in which individuals derive sexual pleasure and arousal from tickling or being tickled (and is also known as titillagnia). The Right Diagnosis website claims the symptoms of knismolagnia are (i) sexual arousal gained from being tickled, (ii) sexual interest in tickling, (iii) recurring intense sexual urges involving tickling, and (iv) sexual arousal associated with tickling. A knismolagnia article on another online site (Gay Fetish Goth) claims that different individuals may find tickling of virtually any region of the body to be pleasurable, and that knismolagnia can also involve sexual arousal from simply watching others being tickled. The same article also noted (but without any supporting evidence) that:

However, people who claim to have a tickling fetish are likely to enjoy this activity to the exclusion of other pre-sex activities. For some, the focus is entirely on the tickling, with full intercourse less important or not included at all. People whose sexuality is based almost solely on tickling can be said to have a tickling fixation. This fixation may also exist outside of sexual contexts”.

As far as I can ascertain, there is almost nothing in the academic literature on knismolagnia. However, there are a number of online articles and writings about the sexual side of tickling although there is a common mistake I have spotted which may both have arisen from a single source. Many online sources – including the Acarophilia and Kinky Sex Questions websites – appear to include tickling as part acarophilia (the deriving of sexual arousal and pleasure from scratching or being scratched) when in fact it is not (although there is clearly a fine line between hard tickling and scratching).

In 2006, Dr. Lisa Shaffer and Dr. Julie Penn developed a comprehensive paraphilia classification system and published it as a book chapter in Dr. William Hickey’s book Sex Crimes and Paraphilia. In this chapter, Shaffer and Penn made specific reference to both acarophilia and knismolagnia although these mentions (while in an academic context) were part of a wider theoretical point noting that some paraphilias (specifically acarophilia and knismolagnia – although they used the term ‘titillagnia’ for the latter) were completely “innocuous” and that this demonstrated that not all sexual paraphiliacs were sex offenders (and vice-versa). This appears to be supported by the Right Diagnosis website which claims that treatment for knismolagnia is generally not sought and that individuals with the condition “simply learn to accept their fetish and manage to achieve gratification in an appropriate manner”.

According to a small article on the Kinky Sex Questions website (which also wrongly interchanges acarophilia and knismolagnia), sexual tickling is most “frequently done by fingers, feather and other objects or by licking”. It claims that initially, the person being tickled enjoys and encourages the tickler, but then turns into “helpless laughter”. The article also claims that the preferred tickling areas are “feet, armpits, navel, ribs, breasts and genitals” (although no evidence is given to support the claim). If this is true there is likely to be some crossover with other sexual paraphilias and fetishes including podophilia (i.e., foot fetishes) and maschalagnia (i.e., armpit fetishism).

The Acarophile website also contains an “Acarophilia Dictionary” which appears to relate acarophilia to a more specialized and idiosyncratic sub-type of sexual sadism and sexual masochism (in fact there appear to dozens of websites that cater for ‘tickle torture’ pornography if you do a quick Google search). The website uses the word ‘ticklephile’ to define “anyone, including adults and children of both sexes who have an acute interest, or fetish, about tickling or being tickled”. It also features some more specialized definitions including the ‘Tickle Top’, the ‘Tickle Bottom’, ‘Tickle Torture’ and a ‘Douhini’. These are the verbatim definitions from the Acarophilia Dictionary rather than my own re-wording:

  • Tickle Top: 
This refers to “the person who tickles, or tickle tortures another with the object of forcing the victim, usually restrained and helpless, to laugh hysterically, cry, scream, urinate, ejaculate and even pass out from prolonged intense tickling. Usually done with consent for erotic sexual gratification, but sometimes used as effective torture of prisoners”.
  • Tickle Bottom: 
This refers to “the victim, usually restrained, of tickle torture, either with consent by a tickle top for exercise or sexual gratification or by others as torture to obtain information or for sadistic pleasure. If very ticklish, the ‘bottom’ suffers acute agony from the body’s automatic reflexes, such as hysterical laughter, screaming, crying, muscle spasms, urination, ejaculation, and even convulsions and loss of consciousness. Common in BDSM, (bondage sado-masochism) practice, the tickle bottom should be in good physical health because severe tickling can cause strokes and seizures”.

  • Tickle Torture: 
This refers to a tied-up victim “be it in a rack or with ropes or hand-cuffs, in a strategic method, and tickled mercilessly. Usually, words are written on the victim’s feet, and pictures are taken, both still and moving. Rarely does sex occur, although erections and urination may”.

  • Douhini: 
This refers to a “tickle of the inside of an exposed armpit. The Douhini-er must then yell Douhini to further surprise the victim. Usually accompanied by a slight wave of the pointer finger. In other cases a Douhini can also be a jab to the armpit but that technique is usually frowned upon”.

According to most online sources, the main reason why sexual tickling is popular among those in the BDSM community is because the person is usually already restrained. The dominant partner may also blindfold their victim to enhance the sexual pain/pleasure. However, one online gay fetish site claims it is not popular. It asserted that “although some consider [knismolagnia] a BDSM activity, tickling is not fully recognised by the community and is relatively unknown in the mainstream. In dominance and submission scenarios, sexual partners may agree upon a safeword to signal that the tickling should stop”. According to a Wikipedia entry on tickling games, knismolagnia is derived from the term ‘knismesis’:

“Knismesis refers to the light, feather-like type of tickling. This type of tickling generally does not induce laughter and is often accompanied by an itching sensation. The knismesis phenomenon requires low levels of stimulation to sensitive parts of the body, and can be triggered by a light touch or by a light electrical current. Knismesis can also be triggered by crawling insects or parasites, prompting scratching or rubbing at the ticklish spot, thereby removing the pest”

Knismolagnia also includes ‘gargalesis’ which according to an article on knismolagnia in the (admittedly non-academic) Him and Her Sex Blog refers to:

“…harder, laughter-inducing tickling, and involves the repeated application of high pressure to sensitive areas. This ‘heavy tickle’ is often associated with play and laughter. The gargalesis type of tickle works on humans and primates, and possibly on other species. Because the nerves involved in transmitting ‘light’ touch and itch differ from those nerves that transmit ‘heavy’ touch, pressure and vibration, it is possible that the difference in sensations produced by the two types of tickle are due to the relative proportion of itch sensation versus touch sensation. While it is possible to trigger a knismesis response in oneself, it is usually impossible to produce gargalesthesia, the gargalesis tickle response, in oneself”

This short article also claims that varying forms and varying degrees of knismolagnia “from the pleasure experienced when tickled by a partner, to the sexual need to be tickled to reach orgasm”. It is also one of the few articles to note that knismolagnia doesn’t include non-tickling behaviours such as scratching and cutting. Of all the paraphilias I have examined in my blog, knismophilia appears to have been one of the least researched (academically or clinically).

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Hickey, E. (2006). Sex Crimes and Paraphilia. Prentice Hall, New Jersey: Pearson.

Him and Her Sex Blog (2012). Knismolagnia. February 12. Located at: http://himandhersexblog.tumblr.com/post/17661996177/knismolagnia

Right Diagnosis (2012). Knismolagnia. Located at: http://www.rightdiagnosis.com/k/knismolagnia/intro.htm

Shaffer, L. & Penn J. (2006). A comprehensive paraphilia classification system. In E.W. Hickey (Ed.), Sex Crimes and Paraphilia (pp. 69-93). Prentice Hall, New Jersey: Pearson.

Wikipedia (2012). Tickling game. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tickling_game

The Great Defecator: The (maybe not so) secret sex life of Adolf Hitler

In a previous blog I briefly looked at some of the psychological research that had been carried out examining Adolf Hitler’s personality. I briefly mentioned in that blog some of the more salacious speculations about his sexuality. It’s not my usual style to speculate on the sex lives of people who are not around to defend themselves (although I did make an exception in a previous blog about the television personality Jimmy Savile).

Hitler’s sexuality has been the subject of scholarly (and not so scholarly) debate for decades. The vast majority of material has concerned Hitler’s sexual orientation and whether in fact he was gay (not that it bothers me whether he was or wasn’t). For instance, much media coverage was given to Scott Lively and Kevin Abrams’ book The Pink Swastika about Hitler’s (and other leading Nazi Party members’) homosexuality. Other scholars (such as the German historian Dr. Lothar Machtan) have tried to put the case forward that he was bisexual (which would make more sense given the five women he was alleged to have had sexual liaisons with above and beyond his longstanding 16-year relationship with Eva Braun) or that he was asexual – although I’ve yet to come across any scholarly evidence of this apart from a brief 1998 online essay by American Dr. Jack Porter. He wrote:

“Did Hitler despise homosexuals? Was he ashamed of his own homosexual identity? These are areas of psychohistory that are beyond known knowledge. My own feelings are that Hitler was asexual in the traditional sense and had bizarre sexual fetishes. All these things were of course kept highly secret from the German people”.

Many academics have disputed the allegations made in The Pink Swastika although Dr. Machtan published (what seems to me at least) a well researched German book on Hitler in 2001 (the title of which translates as Hitler’s Secret: The Double Life of a Dictator). He claimed that Hitler had many gay friends in Munich who helped Hitler win over the intellectuals in various social circles during his rise to power. This included Ernst Hanfstaengt (a business man and close friend of Hitler), Dietrich Eckart (a journalist and politician who helped Hitler form the Nazi Party), Ernst Röhm (one of Hitler’s closest confidants, and an officer in the Bavarian Army who later became the Nazi leader of the Sturmabteilung – the Assault Division), and Edmund Heines (Röhm’s deputy leader in the Sturmabteilung). He personally ordered the killings of both Heines and Röhm for their “immoral sexual behaviour”. The Wikipedia entry on Hitler’s sex life claimed that:

“There is considerable evidence that he had infatuations with a number of women during his lifetime, as well as overwhelming evidence of his antipathy to homosexuality, and no evidence he engaged in homosexual behavior”.

The American journalist Ron Rosenbaum (and author of the 1998 book Explaining Hitler:  The Search for the Origins of Evil) has been very critical of Dr. Machtan’s research and went as far as saying in a 2005 article for the Southern Poverty Law Center, that Machtan’s “evidence falls short of being conclusive and often falls far short of being evidence at all”. However, Hitler’s persecution of homosexuals was as abhorrent as his treatment of Jewish people (sending them to their deaths in the Nazi concentration camps – some of who were experimented upon in Hitler’s quest to identify what he believed was a biological basis for homosexuality). The Wikipedia article on Hitler’s sexuality cites the work of American historian Jonathan Zimmerman who claimed that:

“Between 1933 and 1945, the Nazis arrested roughly 100,000 men as homosexuals. Most convicted gays were sent to prison; between 5,000 and 15,000 were interned in concentration camps, where they wore pink triangles to signify their supposed crime. A study by Rüdiger Lautmann found that 60% of gay men in concentration camps died, as compared to 41% of political prisoners and 35% of Jehovah’s Witnesses. The study also shows that survival rates for gay men were slightly higher for internees from the middle and upper classes and for married bisexual men and those with children”.

Irrespective of whether Hitler had homesexual tendencies, no-one denies that during World War II, the allies did their best to cast Hitler as a sexual deviant with claims that he was a urophile (i.e., sexually aroused by being urinated upon in Hitler’s case). However, much of this can be dismissed as nothing more than anti-Hitler propaganda. Ernst Hanfstaengl (who was for quite some time a member of Hitler’s ‘inner circle’) was one of the few who openly spoke of issues surrounding Hitler’s sex life (after Hitler had committed suicide). In his 1957 book Hitler: The Missing Years, he wrote:

“Hitler was a case of a man who was neither fish, flesh nor fowl, neither fully homosexual nor fully heterosexual… I had formed the firm conviction that he was impotent, the repressed, masturbating type”.

In my previous blog on Hitler’s personality, I mentioned the two independent reports that were commissioned by the US Office of Strategic Services (OSS) by psychologists Dr. Walter Langer (A Psychological Analysis of Adolf Hitler: His Life and Legend) and Dr. Walter Murray (Analysis of the Personality of Adolph Hitler: With Predictions of His Future Behavior and Suggestions for Dealing with Him Now and After Germany’s Surrender) during the World War II in an attempt to get inside the mind of Hitler. German politician Otto Strasser (a member of the left-wing National Socialist German Workers’ Party) claimed that Hitler had forced his niece Geli Raubel to urinate and defecate on him. In relation to his sexuality, this ‘evidence’ – I use the term tentatively – was used by Dr. Langer’s to assert that Hitler was an “impotent coprophile [and] possibly even a homosexual streak in him”. However, the report did conclude that the evidence surrounding Hitler’s alleged homosexuality was weak. Dr. Murray’s report briefly dealt with Hitler’s alleged coprophilic tendencies but was more concerned with Hitler’s probable schizophrenia (which I covered in my previous blog). In 2007, Dr. Frederick Coolidge and his colleagues published a paper examining the psychological profile of Adolf Hitler. Summarizing the work of Dr. Langer, they wrote that:

“Using sources only available up until 1943, Langer diagnosed Hitler as a neurotic bordering on psychotic with a messiah complex, masochistic tendencies, strong sexual perversions, and a high likelihood of homosexuality”.

More recently, Hitler’s alleged coprophilia was alluded to in a 2011 biography of Hitler’s lover Eva Braun by Heike B. Görtemaker. However, other recent books on Hitler have been more explicit. For instance, Greg Hallet in his chapter ‘Hitler’s Sexuality’ (from his 2008 book ‘Hitler was a British Agent’) wrote:

“Hitler’s close boyhood friend from Linz, August Kubizek, wrote Adolf Hitler, Mein Jugendfreund (My Youth Friend), ‘Adolf did not engage in love affairs or flirtations. He always rejected the coquettish advances of girls or women. Women and girls took an interest in him but he always evaded their endeavours’…During deconstruction, it is customary that the person is sexually abused in the manner which is most embarrassing to that person. In Hitler’s case, he was sodomised, creating a submissive distant respect for homosexuals like his bodyguards and some of his highest-placed leaders. His natural bent was developed into coprophilia (being shat on)…With each deconstruction an embarrassing addiction is developed and filmed. With Hitler it was sadomasochism, coprophilia and homosexuality. That is, he liked to be verbally abused and slapped around, to have his head urinated on, his chest shat on, and to have sex with men”.

None of this is definitive proof that Hitler was a coprophile but some would argue that there are enough indirect pieces of evidence to suggest that ‘there’s no smoke without fire’. As far as I am concerned it is never likely to be proven given any new evidence that is likely to have come to light would have probably come to light by now (but you never know).

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Coolidge, F., Davis, F. & Segal, D. (2007). Understanding Madmen: A DSM-IV Assessment of Adolf Hitler. Individual Differences Research, 5(1), 30-43.

Görtemaker, H. (2011). Eva Braun: Life with Hitler. New York: Knopf.

Hallett, G. (2008). Hitler was a British Agent. London: Progressive Books.

Hanfstaengl, E. (1957). Hitler: The Missing Years. London: Eyre & Spottiswoode.

Lively, Scott; Abrams, Kevin (1995). The Pink Swastika: Homosexuality in the Nazi Party. Founders Publishing. Corporation

Moser, R. (2005).  Anti-Gay Religious Crusaders Claim Homosexuals Helped Mastermind the Holocaust. Southern Poverty Law Center, 117. Located at: http://www.splcenter.org/get-informed/intelligence-report/browse-all-issues/2005/spring/holy-war/making-myths

Plant, R. (1986). The Pink Triangle: The Nazi War Against Homosexuals. New York: Henry Holt.

Porter, J.N. (1998). Genocide of homosexuals in the Holocaust. October 10. Located at: http://chgs.umn.edu/educational/homosexuals.html

Porter, J.N. (1998). Sexual Politics in Nazi Germany: The Persecution of the Homosexuals during the Holocaust. Newton, MA: The Spencer Press.

Rosenbaum, R. (1998). Explaining Hitler:  The Search for the Origins of Evil. New York: Random House.

Rosenbaum, R. (2001). Queer as Volk. Slate, December 3. Located at: http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2001/12/queer_as_volk.html

Wikipedia (2012). Sexuality of Adolf Hitler. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexuality_of_Adolf_Hitler

Womb raiders: A brief look at ‘unbirthing’

In a previous blog on vorarephilia and ‘vore’ (individuals who are sexually aroused by the thought of being eaten, eating another person, or observing this process for sexual gratification; sometimes referred to phagophilia), I noted that one of the sub-categories of this sexually paraphilic behaviour was ‘vaginal vore’ in which an individual is sexually aroused by the thought of being consumed by the vagina and taken into the womb. This is commonly referred to as  ‘unbirthing’ or a ‘reverse birth’ if the participants are human. Among the Furry Fandom who dress up and fantasize about being animals, the process is known as being ‘re-whelped’). A short article on unbirthing at the Oh Internet website claims that unbirthing fetishes are most commonly found in the furry community” (although there is no evidence to support the claim).

The simplest definition of unbirthing is that it is a sexual paraphilia that involves being ‘swallowed’ alive by female genitalia. As with most forms of vorarephilia, the paraphilia is fantasy-based as it is not humanly possible to be unborn. Most unbirthing websites feature masses of fan art and fan fiction (such as the Mindless Consumption website). However, there are also some very specialist types of unbirthing website such as the Pony Inside Story website that (predictably) only features unbirthing pony stories and art. According to the Wikifur article on unbirthing:

“A less-common but still significant minority also practice UB-Vore, wherein the female unbirther’s body ultimately consumes the unbirthed. Another variant on this is males absorbing others (generally other males) as a form of male pregnancy. This is known as cock vore and often involves hypertrophilia and/or macrophilia”.

[Macrophilia – which I covered in a previous blog – refers to individuals that are sexually aroused by giants. Hypertrophilia describes individuals – usually macrophiles – who are sexually and/or emotionally attracted to ‘hyper-endowed’ characters. Hypertrophic individuals typically feature over-exaggerated (and impractically large) sexual and erogenous characteristics]. The article on unbirthing in the online Encyclopedia Dramatica says that US grunge group Nirvana may have unwittingly started the fetish in their 1993 hit single Heart-Shaped Box from their final studio LP In Utero when they sang “Broken hymen of ‘Your Highness’/I’m left black/Throw down your umbilical noose/ So I can climb right back”. However, I know of no academic research on unbirthing although there are a number of online articles that examine the phenomena and its underlying motivation and meaning. For instance, the Wikifur article makes a number of interesting observations:

“For many, unbirthing is attractive in its symbolic meaning. The opportunity to trust someone quite literally with one’s entire life, to be nurtured and protected, is what attracts the unbirthed. On the other side, the unbirther can demonstrate her care for another in a deep, trusting way, and enjoy something living inside her, a sensation often attractive in and of itself”.

For others, unbirthing has dominant, controlling and almost sadistic elements where the person being unbirthed becomes dependent upon the vaginal enveloper for oxygen and sustenance. Those undergoing unbirthing become restricted in what they can do as movement is almost totally inhibited and the senses are all but redundant having been enveloped and swallowed. For some, the age regression aspect and returning to the womb is said to be sexually arousing. As the Wikifur article notes:

“Returned to the womb, an unbirthed creature grows younger; the unbirther may choose to rebirth their guest at any point or simply regress the unbirthed past the point of conception, effectively erasing their existence. There are many variations on this theme, some overlapping with the oviposition [paraphilia]. [For others there an] overlap between fans of unbirth and those of vore lies in the endosomatophilia paraphilia, or attraction to fantasies involving complete encapsulation of a living thing within the body of another living thing. A second overlap between the two lies in absorbing or digesting an unbirthed creature: a form of genital vore”.

According to the online Nation Master encyclopedia, the term endosomatophilia (and sometimes shortened to ‘endosoma’) was coined in 2004 (although it doesn’t say by who and in what context), and is a sexual attraction to “fantasies involving complete encapsulation of a living thing within the body of another living thing” and is therefore a critical part of unbirthing and other similarly related behaviours such as vorarephilia and ‘insertion fantasies’. [According to a Wikipedia entry, ‘insertion fantasies’ refer to “the sexual desire or fantasy of having something inserted into a person in the pelvic region; usually referring to something out of the ordinary like specifically shaped foods, abnormal objects, or even people”]. The Nation Master entry also claims that:

“Due to its relative youth as a fetish term, there are currently no known websites or references with focus on endosoma. Because of this, many vore sites host endosoma material unrelated to vorarephilia itself. Because vore fantasies often involve violence and/or snuff, endosomaphiles are often daunted by the overwhelming presence of vore, as opposed to other forms of endosoma. The term was created in the hopes of forming more endosoma-oriented web content, communities, and chat rooms. Endosoma is often associated with macrophilia and microphila [which I also covered in a previous blog] as a large size difference can facilitate bodily containment. Currently, endosomatophilia is most well known among furries…Endosomatophilia is sometimes misdefined as soft vore in which the prey is not digested. Also, it was originally coined as endosomaphilia, which was later found to be incorrect”.

Compared to other sexual paraphilias that have not been researched empirically, the number of online forums that cater for vorarephilia in all its sub-varieties (including unbirthing) appears relatively large with relatively large numbers of members. It is certainly an area that I would personally like to carry out some research.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Encyclopedia Dramatica (2011). Unbirthing. August 14. Located at: https://encyclopediadramatica.se/Unbirthing

Oh Internet (2012). Unbirthing. Located at: http://ohinternet.com/Unbirthing

Nation Master (2012). Endosomatophilia. Located at: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Endosomatophilia

Nation Master (2012). Unbirthing. Located at: http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Unbirthing

Wikifur (2010). Hypertrophilia. November 11. Located at: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Hypertrophilia

Wikifur (2009). Unbirth. March 19. Located at: http://en.wikifur.com/wiki/Unbirth

Wikipedia (2011). Insertion fantasies. September 4. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Xomic/Insertion_fantasy

Having a stab at it: A beginner’s guide to piquerism

Back in June 2007, a 25-year-old American (Frank Ranieri) was arrested in New York on charges of assault. He was accused of paying large amounts of money to at least five young females in exchange for poking their buttocks with sharp objects (e.g., pens, pins, nails, etc.) while masturbating. An online article reported that:

“In one instance, Ranieri offered to help get a 15-year-old girl a newspaper delivery route if she would let him take a jab at her. In others, he posed as a cop to dupe his victims into trusting him, she added…Ranieri was charged with two counts of second-degree assault as a sexual felony for paying a 17-year-old Richmond Valley teen about $6,000 to be his erotic pincushion for about a year and a half…Ranieri ‘liked to see pins go through muscle and flesh…He didn’t see much wrong with it. Prosecutors are saying that Ranieri suffers from an affliction known as piquerism…Here in New York, there was a notorious example of piquerism in 1990: a guy managed to shoot darts at the asses of 53 midtown babes before the police finally collared him. The local tabloids dubbed him Dart Man”.

There are numerous examples of such practices. For instance, more recently in the summer of 2011, people in a Fairfax shopping mall (Virginia, USA) were terrorized by someone the press dubbed the ‘Serial Butt Stabber’ and the ‘Butt Slasher’ (a man who repeatedly stabbed females on their bottoms through their clothes). One online article noted that:

“The so-called butt-slasher has been pricking women in the rear end with sharp objects, in malls in Fairfax Virginia.  Six women have reported being victimized so far, shopping at T.J. Maxx, and another 18-year old at a Forever XXI store, who felt a ‘sharp pain” and believed a hanger had stuck her, though she noticed a man binding down to pick up clothes supposedly fallen off a rack”

Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his book Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, defines piquerism as sexual arousal from penetrating another person’s body with sharp objects (such as pins, razors, knives, etc.). Other definitions on various online websites define it as sexual excitement from stabbing/blood letting” (which in my opinion, and based on more academic writings, is too wide ranging to be clinically useful). The Wikipedia definition (which appears to have been based on that found in M.S. Davis’ 2002 book The Concise Dictionary of Crime and Justice) notes that:

“Piquerism or picquerism (from the French piquer – “to prick”) is sexual interest penetrating the skin of another person, sometimes serious enough to cause death. Piquerism is a paraphilia and form of sadism. The most frequently targeted areas of the body are the breasts, buttocks, or groin”.

Given the relatively regular incidence of piquerism in the popular media, I was quite surprised to find next to nothing academically. There are passing references to piquerism in the clinical and forensic science literature but nothing (as far as I could find) on the prevalence or etiology of the disorder. Dr. Wade Myers has a short section on piquerism in his 2002 book Juvenile Sexual Homicide. In one of the chapters, Myers recounted the case of two teenage murderers (‘Frank’ and ‘Andy’) who killed and mutilated a pregnant teenage girl they had both previously had a sexual relationship with. As Myers wrote:

“Regardless of who first came up with the idea of the murder, [Frank and Andy] took her to a remote area in some nearby woods. Andy first had consensual sex with the girl. When Frank approached her for sex, she rebuffed his advances. The attack on the girl started after this interaction. Each of the boys attributed the cascade of murderous actions to the other. The victim was initially choked manually and strangled with a radio cord. Unconscious, she was carried further into the woods. She regained consciousness and attempted to run. She was bludgeoned with a piece of lumber, a tree branch and a concrete block. The bludgeoning with the concrete block…detached part of the scalp. One of the boys tried to cut her throat with a knife, and her arm revealed defensive wounds from trying to protect herself during the knife attack”.

The medical examiner reported that the girl had been repeatedly stabbed and that the boys had done it for the “heck of it”. Dr. Myers claimed that offender behavior was “an expression of the perversion known as piquerism”. Dr. Myers admitted he knew little about piquerism (and wrote “little is known about piquerism in adults, and even less so in children”), so he contacted Dr. Richard Walters (Omega Crime Assessment Group, and former prison psychologist for the Michegan Department of Corrections). Based on his colleagues’ expertise, Dr. Myers subsequently noted:

“Piquerism is sometimes performed post-mortem. It generally refers to the penetration of human flesh, although it is sometimes practiced against animals. The piquer’s range of activities for sating his or her needs can be a purposeful single prick with a pin or knife, multiple stab wounds to an eroticized area, or elaborate cutting, stabbing, biting and mutilation of a victim. Piquerism becomes part of the repertoire of many sadists, depending on their progress along the ‘sadistic learning curve’. Often the sexual mechanisms inherent in piquerism are ignored during the assessment of sexually sadistic crimes. The prevalence rate of piquerism is unknown”.

Many authors note the link between piquerism and sexual sadism. In an online article on sexual sadism. Dr Stephen Hucker reviewed the characteristics and predominate features of what he described as “major sexual sadism”. 
Dr. Hucker noted that this type of sexual sadism was typically non-consensual and usually culminates in major injury or death. He also noted the types of behaviour that accompanied major sexual sadism as including: (i) severe beatings, (ii) torture, (iii) burning and cutting, (iv) stabbing in the breast or buttocks (piquerism), (v) rape, (vi), murder, (vii) vampirism, and (viii) necrophilia. This is also confirmed by Dr. Anil Aggrawal in his 2011 book Necrophilia: Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects, where he examines lust murders:

Lust murders are homicides in which the offender stabs, cuts, pierces, or mutilates the sexual regions or organs of the victim’s body. The sexual mutilation of the victim may include evisceration, piquerism, displacement of the genitalia in both males and females, and the removal of the breasts in a female victim (defeminization). It also includes activities such as ‘posing’ and ‘propping’ of the body, the insertion of objects into the body cavities, anthropophagy (consumption of blood and/or flesh), and necrophilia”.

A particularly gruesome case involving piquerism was described by Vernon Geberth (former Commander, Bronx Homicide, NYPD) in an article ‘The Anatomy of Lust Murder’ in a 1998 issue of Law and Order magazine. He wrote:

The two victims were a mother and her fourteen-year-old daughter…Once his victims were unconscious and dead he engaged in hours of sexual deviance with their bodies. His intention was to knockout the fourteen-year-old and then torture her to death. However, he had hit her with such force that she died. He eviscerated both of his victims. He had sex with their corpses and drank their blood before posing and propping them with their body parts and inserting a baseball bat into the daughter’s vagina. He removed the breasts from the mother and placed them in the bedroom on end tables on either side of the bed where the daughter’s body was found. He incised the skin of the pubis from the mother and placed the tissue into her mouth. He incised the skin of the pubis from the daughter’s body and placed it upon the right side of her face. He then engaged in postmortem piquerism by stabbing into the daughter’s throat a total of sixteen times…His admitted fantasy was to torture and kill young girls as another male anally sodomized him. All of the cutting, mutilation and overkill type wound structures were directed towards those parts of the body that the offender found sexually significant to him and these activities served as his sexual stimulus. 

The piquerism inflicted on the body of the sixteen-year-old was substitutive for his “torture” fantasy”.

A number of infamous murderers are known to have carried out major acts of piquerism. Arguably the most infamous was Jack the Ripper. A paper by Dr. Robert Keppel and his colleagues in a 2005 issue of the Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling concluded that “the injuries sustained by the victims displayed the signature characteristic of piquerism”. The Russian mass murderer Andrei Chikatilo (‘The Butcher of Rostov’) was known to be impotent but derived sexual satisfaction from stabbing and cutting his many victims. American serial killer Albert Fish (also known as ‘The Brooklyn Vampire’ and ‘The Moon Maniac’ amongst many other names) was known to have engaged in piquerism with many of his victims (and also had a penchant for self-piquerism – particularly the sticking of pins into himself).

The reasons as to how and why people engage in piquerism have yet to be researched in any depth. Most of the theorizing is speculative at best. The Freudian psychologist Dr. Judy Kuriansky in an online essay entitled ‘Piquersim Pervert’ (and in direct reaction to the mall ‘butt slasher’ in Fairfax Virginia) speculated that:

“His proclivity was an attack on the butt.  A boy can be subjected to a mother taunting him, ‘you’re a bad boy’ and going to be punished and then giving him a rear end beating, which is sexually stimulating.  He then associates being attacked on the rear with sexual turn-on.  Add to this, that he gets satisfaction from mother’s attention, albeit negative.  And he comes very angry at her, which explains how he then projects his punishment urges onto women.  Such a paraphiliac perversion also means that the man is incapable of a healthy relationship with a real woman, and can only focus on a body part. The perversion can also come from being beaten by the father with a belt to the point of drawing blood.  There is always a danger that such a paraphiliac already acting on aggressive urges can become a lust murderer”.

In an online article entitled ‘Explaining Mutilation and Piquerism’, the anonymous author notes that the motives behind piquerism mutilation of female victims still remain a mystery. The author claims that piquerism acts are:

“…largely perpetrated by angry heterosexual males on females or homosexual males on males – in other words, an act directed by males onto the object of their sexual desire…The preference to use a knife for mutilating a victim beyond what is necessary to kill is called piquerism. The killer expresses his sexuality by penetration the victim with a knife. The victim’s screams, the bloodletting, and the odors all create for the murderer a harmonic sexual experience. Some killer’s ejaculate uncontrollably without touching their genitals as they stab or hack at their victims. Some experts associate piquerism with cultural construction of femininity, with its association with the body, bleeding, birth, which link women with a mortality that provokes a dual reaction: anxious fear accompanied by erotic desire. If the duality slips out of control, the consequences can be horrific”.

Perhaps the most parsimonious explanation of piquerism is a quote from the fictional character George Huang, an FBI psychiatrist in Law and Order: Special Victims Unit. In Episode 2.20 (called ‘Pique’), the head of personnel at a software company is found raped and stabbed to death. In court, Huang simply says:

He suffers from piquerism, counselor. The knife represents his penis. It is not disposable

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Aggrawal A. (2011). Necrophilia: Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Davis, M.S. (2002). The Concise Dictionary of Crime and Justice. London: Sage.

Dean, P. (2011). Serial butt stabber stabbed more butts in Virginia. Mommy’s Dirty Little Secret, August 12. Located at: http://mommysdirtylittlesecret.com/2011/08/12/serial-butt-stabber-stabbed-more-butts-in-virginia/#more-14511

Geberth, V.J. (1998). Anatomy of a lust murder. Law and Order, 45(5). Located at: http://www.practicalhomicide.com/Research/lustmurder.htm

Hucker, S. (2011). Sexual sadism. Located at: http://www.forensicpsychiatry.ca/paraphilia/sadism.htm

Keppel, R.D., Weis, J.G., Brown, K.M. & Welch, K. (2005). The Jack the Ripper murders: A modus operandi and signature analysis of the 1888-1891 Whitechapel Murders. Journal of Investigative Psychology and Offender Profiling, 2, 1-21.

Kuriansky, J. (2011). Piquerism pervert. August 16. Located at: http://www.drjudy.com/latest-posts/2011/8/16/piquerism-pervert.htm

Meloy, J.R. (2002). The ‘polymorphously perverse’ psychopath: Understanding a strong empirical relationship. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 66, 273-289.

Myers, W.C. (2002). Juvenile Sexual Homicide. San Diego, CA: Academic Press.

Neumann, S., Alley, D., Paclebar, A.M., Sanchez, C. and Satterthwaite, B., Frotteurism, piquerism, and other related paraphilias. In Sex crimes and paraphilia, 1st ed. Hickey, E.W., (Ed.), Pearson Prentice Hall, New Jersey, 2006, chapter 26, pages 237-248.

PervScan (2007). Piquerism in New York. June 12. Located at: http://pervscan.com/2007/06/12/piquerism-in-new-york/

Bite sighs: A beginner’s guide to odaxelagnia‬

In a previous blog on vampirism as a sexual paraphilia, I briefly mentioned the related behaviour of odaxelagnia. Both Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices and Dr. Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices define odaxelagnia as a sexual paraphilia concerning individuals who derive sexual pleasure and arousal through biting or being bitten. Obviously, odaxelagnia is sometimes associated with sexual vampirism but it would appear that most forms of sexual biting do not involve bloodletting.

In her Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, Dr. Brenda Love included a relatively lengthy entry on sexual biting and reported that “biting is used by some to sexually excite their partner. It is done on the neck, ears, lips, nipples, back, buttocks, genitals, inner thighs, etc. The pressure used depends on their partner’s pain tolerance”. She also notes that sexual biting is one of the “easiest and most accepted methods” in sexual sadism and sexual masochism. She also claims that sexual biting produces an “increased sensation [and] brings some individuals who are emotionally stressed out of their physical numbness, back into touch with their bodies”. In the 2007 book, Miscellany of Sex, Frances Twinn reported that on the islands of Trobriand (off the east coast of New Guinea), the biting off of a woman’s eyelashes is viewed by the people who live there as a passionate activity!

Three separate books (Dr. Anil Aggrawal’s Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, Dr. Brenda Love’s Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices, and Arlene Russo’s Vampire Nation) all make reference to the fact that sexual biting has it’s own separate section in the Kama Sutra (written by the Indian philosopher Mallanaga Vatsyayana in the 4th century). As Aggrawal notes:

“The Kama Sutra goes so far as to name all the different kinds of [sexual] bites and scratches, including those focused on the breasts and nipples. Eight kinds of bites are described in the chapter ‘On Biting, and the Means to be Employed with Regard to Women of Different Countries’ These are (i) the hidden bite, (ii) the swollen bite, (iii) the point, (iv) the line of points, (v) the coral and the jewel, (vi) the line of jewels, (vii) the broken cloud, and (viii) the biting of the boar”.

The earliest published empirical research concerning sexual biting was arguably reported by the US sexologist Alfred Kinsey. He and his colleagues reported that about half of all the thousands people they surveyed said they had been sexually aroused from being bitten during sex. However, earlier academic references to sexual biting were made by [British psychologist and sexologist] Havelock Ellis in his 1905 book Studies in the Psychology of Sex. He wrote that:

The impulse to bite is also a part of the tactile element which lies at the origin of kissing. As Stanley Hall notes, children are fond of biting, though by no means always as a method of affection. There is, however, in biting a distinctly sexual origin to invoke, for among many animals the teeth (and among birds the bill) are used by the male to grasp the female more firmly during intercourse. This point has been discussed in the previous volume of these Studies in reference to ‘Love and Pain’…The heroine of Kleist’s Penthesilea remarks: ‘Kissing (Küsse) rhymes with biting (Bisse), and one who loves with the whole heart may easily confound the two”.

In Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices, Dr. Aggrawal made a number of references to sexual biting in relation to both sadism and necrophilia. In the former, he noted that oral sadists manifest “fantasies of chewing, biting, or otherwise using the mouth, lips, or teeth aggressively or destructively”. In the latter, he noted that one particular type of necrophiliac (so-called ‘role-playing necrophiles’) sometimes have vampire fantasies where “the lover simulates a killing by biting the neck”. Aggrawal reported the case of a woman who imagined she was a vampire. “She would ask her husband to pretend he was dead and then stimulate his organ with her mouth. She would then pretend that the resulting erection was rigor mortis, and this would give her erotic pleasure”.

Dr. Charles Moser and Dr. Eugene Levitt surveyed 225 sadomasochists (178 men and 47 women recruited via an advert in a sadomasochistic magazine) about their sexual behaviour and published their findings in the Journal of Sex Research. Among their sample, the most common sadomasochistic activities were bondage and flagellation and bondage (50% to 80% of the sample). Painful activities (biting, use of ice or hot wax, and face slapping) were less common (37% to 41% of the sample). The most painful activities engaged in (piercing, branding, burning, tattooing, insertion of pins) were the least common (7% to 18% of the sample). These results suggest that biting (among the S&M community at least) is relatively commonplace.

As noted in a previous blog, there has been some clinical research on sexual vampirism (i.e., the rare phenomenon that involves the letting of blood by cutting or biting and accompanied by sexual arousal). In relation to this sort of sexual biting, there has been a lot of psychological theorizing, particularly from a psychodynamic perspective. Dr. P. Jaffe and Dr. F. DiCataldo (1994) published a paper on clinical vampirism and made a number of speculations. Basing some of their thinking on a 1972 paper by Lawrence Kayton in the Journal of Youth and Adolescence, they wrote:

“Kayton considers that the vampire myth gives ‘a unique phenomenological view of schizophrenia’ and indeed overt vampiristic delusions have been associated most notably with this disorder. The connection is particularly salient in the more gruesome cases involving cannibalistic and necrosadistic behavior that resemble the content of schizophrenic delusional material acted out. These cases generally present massive disorganized oral sadistic regressions, depersonalization, confused sexuality, multiple concurrent delusions, and thought disorder in content and form. Psychodynamic explanations draw attention to Karl Abraham’s biting oral stage during which the infant uses his teeth with a vengeance to Melanie Klein’s description of children’s aggressive fantasies’ and to W.R.D. Fairbairn’s notion of intense oral sadistic libidinal needs formed in response to actual maternal deprivation”.

I can’t say I’m convinced by any of these explanations but as there is a paucity of good data, no better theories have been put forward on this behaviour specifically (although there are alternative behavioural theories involving classical and operant conditioning that help in explaining paraphilic behaviour more generally).

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Aggrawal A. (2009). Forensic and Medico-legal Aspects of Sexual Crimes and Unusual Sexual Practices. Boca Raton: CRC Press.

Criminal Justice Degrees Guide (2008). 10 unusual fetishes with massive online followings. November 10. Located at: http://www.criminaljusticedegreesguide.com/features/10-unusual-fetishes-with-massive-online-followings.html

Ellis, H. (1905). Studies in the Psychology of Sex (Volume 4). Located at: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13613/13613-h/13613-h.htm

Jaffe, P., & DiCataldo, F. (1994). Clinical vampirism: Blending myth and reality. Bulletin of the American Academy of Psychiatry and the Law, 22, 533–544.

Kayton, L. (1972). The relationship of the vampire legend to schizophrenia. Journal of Youth and Adolescence, 1, 303-314.

Love, B. (2001). Encyclopedia of Unusual Sex Practices. London: Greenwich Editions.

Moser, C., & Levitt, E.E. (1987). An exploratory descriptive study of a sadomasochistically oriented sample. Journal of Sex Research, 23, 322–337.

Russo, A. (2008). Vampire Nation. Woodbury, MN: Llewellyn Worldwide.

Twinn, F. (2007). The Miscellany of Sex: Tantalizing Travels Through Love, Lust and Libido. London: Arcturus.

Vatsyayana, M. Kama Sutra, Lancer Books, New York, 1964 (originally written 4th Century AD).

Step on it: A beginner’s guide to trampling fetishes

While researching a previous blog on crush fetishes, I came across an article by Kirk Semple in the New York Times about ‘trampling fetish’ known simply as ‘trampling’ among those engage in the activity. A Wikipedia entry on ‘trampling’ defines it simply as the sexual activity that involves being trampled underfoot by another person or persons…common enough to support a sub-genre of trampling pornography”. The online Urban Dictionary is a little more specific and defines ‘trampling’ as the act of standing or walking on one’s body and face as part of a submissive foot fetish”. Most online sources that discuss trampling note that because the act of being trampled upon can be very painful, it has close links and associations with sexual sadism and sexual masochism. The Wikipedia entry claims that:

“The most common form of trampling is done by a female walking on a male submissive and is usually done barefooted, in socks, nylons, or shoes. The trampler will predominantly walk, jump and stomp on the person’s back, chest, stomach, genitalia, face and in some rare instances, the neck”.

As far as I am aware, no empirical research has ever been carried out on trampling fetishes so we have no idea how prevalent or widespread the activity is. There are certainly a number of online discussion groups, and if you type ‘trampling fetish’ into YouTube (well, have a look for yourself but be warned!).

The New York Times article highlighted the case of Georgio T., a 48-year old Maltese immigrant who calls himself ‘The Human Carpet’ because he gets his sexual kicks from people walking and trampling all over his body. Typically, he walks into a public meeting place (such as a bar or nightclub) carrying a carpet under his arm. He then proceeds to wrap the carpet around himself, lies down on the ground, and places a nearby sign next to himself with the simple instruction for people to ‘Step on carpet’ (the more the better he claimed in the article with a particular preference for women with stiletto heels). The edges of his customized carpet are sewn together in the shape of a cylinder. This allows Georgio to slip in and out of the carpeted tube easily.

He then stays wrapped up inside the carpet for up to four hours at a time (the longest stint being 11 hours). He is now a regular ‘performer’ at sex fetish parties and charges around $200 a session but insists he does it for pleasure not profit. He knows of only one other person in the New York area (“Kevin Carpet’) who also makes a living from being trampled upon. His largest ‘customer’ was a 390-pound man. He claims he is “motivated by a desire to push his own boundaries and those of others [and] likes intense parties where the flow of body-stompers is constant”.Georgio told Semple that his fascination for being trampled up began in early childhood and became of central part of role-playing games he engaged in as a child:

“I loved to have weights on me…I liked having my cats walk over me. [If] somebody wanted to be the carpenter, and I would want to be the carpet. …It’s my fun [and] people are [now] paying me to have fun. The more people who pile on [me], the better. The higher they jump, the better. There’s hardly any middle ground. [People] are either shocked and don’t want to do it or they’re thrilled to do it”.

Georgio claims the behaviour only becomes a sexual fetish when beautiful women step on him. When men or plain looking women stomp on him he still finds it enjoyable but not sexually stimulating. Semple said:

“[Georgio] spoke rhapsodically about one woman who spent nearly two hours standing on him at Lotus, a club in the meatpacking district, and toying with his face using the heels of her shoes. After she was done, the woman leaned down and thanked him, and said that she never thought she would be able to do something like that…These sort of personal connections are what make it all worth it, he said”

Georgio’s experience is in no way unique as I cam across countless online stories and admissions about the sexual desire to be trampled upon including an interesting interview with a foot trampler at the Sexy Tofu website. Here are a few admissions that I collated:

  • Extract 1: “Ever since I was a small boy I used to fantasize about older girls or women stepping on my stomach. Why? I don’t know! …My baby sitter used to put her foot on my stomach and push down to play with me. I even got her to stand on me once. However this, after some research appears to be a fetish that some people are into, although rare”
  • Extract 2: I wish I knew as to why I like to be trampled, but I have no answer…I have had the intense desire for woman to walk on me longer than I can remember. My desire goes further though. I liked to be wrapped up like a mummy with my arms to the side and have a pretty, sexy, thick ankled women standing barefoot on my chest. I desire her to jump on my chest, stomp my chest, and drive her toes or her heels into the center of my chest. I also like her knees and rear-end on top of my chest”
  • Extract 3: “My fetish originated when I was little. You see, my sister had some older friends over and they used me as a trampoline. That’s when I realized that I loved it. From then on it just took off. I currently have a girl trampling me right now. As much as I like the idea of bare feet, shoes are awesome!”
  • Extract 4: “I like to be trampled, but as part of wanting to be dominated. I like the idea of being literally beneath women, like a doormat. I’ve had a few experiences with bare feet, but with shoes is better, on one occasion high heels”
  • Extract 5: “I have had a foot and trampling fetish along with a fascination for being controlled by a dominant female since early childhood. I was never exposed to any of these ideas and have no idea why I have them…I met my wife in college when I was 23. We dated for two before she discovered my fetishes by surfing my computer and coming across some articles, stories and videos I had saved. She had never even heard of trampling and certainly hadn’t experienced any type of fetish play…Well my secret that I had kept hidden for the past 20 years was now out of the bag…It was very humiliating but in a way it was a relief. Now I didn’t have to hide it…Now, I’m 33. She usually tramples me at least three times a week, sometimes more. She forces me to worship her feet and shoes while she tramples me. She even has me lay under her feet while she sits on the couch watching TV or reading. Sometimes with her high heels on, sometimes barefoot…she decides…My thighs, stomach and chest are covered in bruises and heel marks and I love every minute of it”

These accounts are typical of those I came across and many simply do not know how or why their fetish started. Others relate it back to very specific childhood incidents and suggest the fetish developed as part of a behavioural conditioning process (i.e., classical and/or operant conditioning). The fetish also appears to have behavioural and psychological overlaps with crush fetishism and macrophilia (deriving sexual pleasure and arousal by the the thought of being stepped on by a giant). However, crush fetishists and macrophiles claim their fetishes and paraphilic interests are distinct from trampling fetishes. This appears to be confirmed by potential Wikipedia authors debating the entry on crush fetishes. As one contributor asserts:

“Please make trampling a separate article. It is NOT similar to or derived from the crush fetish. While it may be related, it is CERTAINLY not a subcategory of crush fetish. 99% of crush fetishists do not have a trample fetish, and vice versa. The psychology behind it is fairly different, and trampling should not be considered as a subcategory of crush, but rather its own category or a subcategory of foot fetishism”

More specifically, a (non-scientific) survey carried out on the Mistress Destiny website asked its readers: Are trampling and crush fetish the same?” There were four responses that participants could select from and the results were that they are: (i) ‘absolutely different, shouldn’t even be in the same article’ (26.53%), (ii) ‘a little similar, but different enough to have two separate articles’ (54.04%), (iii) ‘very similar, enough to be in the same article’ (11.22%), and (iv) ‘pretty much the same fetish’ (8.16%). No information was given as to how many people participated but the very precise percentages suggests that hundreds if not thousands of people responded to the survey (although the respondents were self-selected and we have know way of knowing how representative the participants were of either the general public or a particular fetishistic sub-group). I suspect that the only way that trampling fetishes will be studied empirically is part of a wider study on sadomasochistic practices.

Dr Mark Griffiths, Professor of Gambling Studies, International Gaming Research Unit, Nottingham Trent University, Nottingham, UK

Further reading

Semple, K. (2009). Bartender, make it a stiletto. New York Times, June 10. Located at: http://www.nytimes.com/2009/06/14/fashion/14carpet.html?_r=2&sq=carpet%20man&st=cse&adxnnl=1&scp=1&adxnnlx=1347984561-aHeCVlJANdIr6KwsZQrfvw

Sexy Tofu (2012). National Fetish Day: Interview with a trampler. January 20. Located at: http://sexytofu.com/tag/trampling/

Wikipedia (2012). Talk: Crush fetish. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Talk%3ACrush_fetish

Wikipedia (2012). Trampling. Located at: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trampling

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